We left Gottschalk Marina on Tuesday morning and are Virginia bound! Goodbyes were happy/sad. On one hand, we were so excited to use the boat for its intended purpose—TRAVEL! On the other hand, we had to leave our safety net and boat family to do it. For our farewell, we had everyone write “Stories For Story Time” in a notebook to take with us: a favorite memory, a word that comes to mind when they think of us, or any hopes for the future.
Day 1: New River to Swansboro
Weather: GUSTY, cold, clear. Not too choppy.
Travel time: 7 hours, 27 nautical miles
Highs: Dolphins! And starting the adventure. Motor and systems running smoothly, no issues at the Onslow swing bridge.
Lows: New River Inlet is a hazard. The charts DO NOT line up with the route, too much has shifted over the past two years. It is incredibly shallow and easy to lose the channel. We ran aground and Tow Boat US had to come pull us out, and even he couldn’t find the channel again for over an hour. Proceed with caution to ICW.
Final thoughts: I’m SO PROUD of Conor for his excellent navigation and docking skills. He received some very high compliments at the marina we docked at for working against a tricky current and getting us lined up safely.
Day 2: Swansboro to Morehead
Weather: Butt Cold
Travel Time: 4 hours, 22 NM
Highs: No running aground! And we got to our transient slip by 2pm with plenty of time to explore. Also, the dock had a pumpout service. Conor said it was the most incredible $10 he ever spent.
Lows: A few toddler meltdowns as she adjusted to this new travel routine. Plus, it was too freaking cold.
Final Thoughts: We were not as prepared for the cold weather as we should have been. When we were packing and organizing for the trip last week, it was 80 degrees. Conor forgot to get a pair of gloves out of storage before he shipped the POD. I can’t believe the temperature halved in less than a week!
Day 3&4: Morehead to Oriental + Rest Day
Weather: Significantly warmer, breezy, rolly across the Neuse River
Travel Time: 4 hrs, 22 NM
Highs: Getting into a rhythm as a family. Hanging with everyone up in the cockpit and listening to music as the NC coast went by. Conor was complimented AGAIN on his docking skills as he navigated a tricky, narrow slip into Oriental (Another cruising family said it was a “10/10”)
Lows: My nerves at the helm.
Final Thoughts: We are enjoying our extra day in Oriental to relax and take time as a family. It is starting to feel like a real vacation as we explore this adorable sailing town.
One of the coolest moments so far was after we docked in Oriental and another sailboat family asked how long we had been doing this for. I said, “We’ve been living aboard for just over three years,” as I chased my toddler up the dock while holding a baby.
She said, “Oh, that explains the docking then! We have only been doing this since October.”
There were so many things I wanted to say to this woman, but I had to follow W before she got too far ahead. I wanted to tell her that docking used to make me want to throw up. That the learning curve is SO steep for her right now, but it will get better. That it is normal to feel completely overwhelmed.
I’ve admired many sailing families over the years, hoping and waiting for the day when we would get on their “level”. It hit me yesterday that from the perspective of this stranger, we actually knew what we were doing! Little does she know…
Last thing: confession time. I’m struggling at the helm away from the familiar territory of the New River. I’m out of practice. I have always had a hard time spatially, and maps have never been my strong point. Adding in the confusion of the charts not matching up the first two days of travel, I’ve been too anxious to do much at the wheel. My attention is also always split with what the kids are doing, and it is hard to focus. Thank goodness we decided to do short travel days.
I’ll try to update on our rest days!
Taylor, Conor, W, and R